FOR a couple of times, there have been proposals seeking the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan. The SK as it is called, is the council for the Filipino youth. Each barangay in the Philippines is mandated by law to have its own chapter of the Katipunan ng mga Kabataan.

The Sanguniang Kabataan has its roots to the original Kabataan Barangay which was created and organized then during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos.

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During the late strongman’s stint, many believed that the then KB was just really meant to counter the growing number and influence of young activists, the Kabataan Makabayan or the KM. It is believed that its purpose was to really formulate a “diversionary tactic” that was aimed to divert the attention of clench-fisted young men and women who were said to be trained as young anti-government machineries. The KB was alleged to be in the guise of a government-recognized youth organization that encouraged youth participation in governance.

The KB was abolished years later after President Corazon C. Aquino became the President of the Philippine Republic. The Sangguniang Kabataan however was born. It was a dog with a different collar, anchoring its charter with Republic Act 7160, also known as the Local Government Code of 1991.

The Sangguniang Kabataan is meant to initiate policies, programs and projects for the development of youth in their respective political territories. The Chairman of the Sangguniang Kabataan acts as the head of the Sanggunian (Council) while the SK kagawads (SK Councilor) as the legislative council. The kagawads approve resolutions of the Sanggunian Kabataan.

The SK Chairman automatically sits in the Sangguniang Barangay (Barangay Council) as ex-officio member. He chairs the Committee on Youth and Sports, one of the standing committees in the village council intended for the young.

A federation of Sangguniang Kabataan is organized on a city or municipal level. Representing the cities and municipalities are likewise organized into provincial federations. The president of a city and municipal level sanggunian sits as ex-officio member of the higher regular sanggunian, while the president of the provincial federation sits as an ex-officio member of the regular provincial board.

Meanwhile, the presidents of highly urbanized and independent component cities are made members of the national SK federation and elect the national federation president who automatically sits in the National Youth Commission as ex-officio member of the commission.

The Sangguniang Kabataan National Federation (SKNF) is a federation of highly urbanized cities, independent component cities and provincial federations of Sangguniang Kabataans. It is the central federation and the highest administrative body of the Sangguniang Kabataan. The SKNF is aided by the National Executive Board (NEB) which is composed of the officers of the SKNF. The NEB is the policymaking body of the SKNF while the SKNF President serves as the Chief Administrator of the Federation.

Sangguniang Kabataan elections have been held simultaneously with the barangay elections in 2002 and in 2007 except in 1992 and 1996 elections. The term limit for Sangguniang Kabataan officials is usually three years but since the first election, there have been extension of terms ranging from one to two years more in office.

After the history and background of the Sangguniang Kabataan, many are asking now as to what significant programs and projects majority of them have accomplished. In fairness, there are those youth leaders who are really into their shoes of being elected young leaders.

Aside from street signs, house plate numbers and street lanterns during the yuletide, basketball leagues and public dance parties are all over especially during election periods. I know a few who made the extent of causing the construction of welcome boundary arches.

I’ve heard a few criticisms saying that the Sangguniang Kabataan is a training and breeding ground for future politicians. As they say, the young starts early to be corrupt. A friend jokingly said that it’s a corruption of minors. One evident fact to this notion is that barangay or municipal elected officials’ young sons and daughters are “fielded” by the formers for their “training”. Of course they get the advantage of being a son or a daughter of a politician. They have the leverage to win their opponents who are not from political clans.

Not being too personal, the Sangguniang Kabataan is seen to be more of a failure rather than an effective tool in mainstreaming the youth into the society. It became a source of political coddling, backing, tribalism and other dirty machinations involved in the realm of politics. The youth sector are being used by politicians in the higher hierarchy.

The PNoy administration is for the abolition of the SK, just like the rest of those who would rather see the young at school than in political arenas where lions and tigers thrive. We need not start them young, what we need is to start them right.

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Birthday greetings to Mr. Jerry Dagdag of the National Bureau of Investigation Central Luzon Regional Office. May you have many more to come.